Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It’s SH Hammer Time!

43 reasons to smile

Going, going, gone: Shanghai’s free trade zone is now open. Much is being speculated about how this goldfish bowl of liberalized economic policies on the Pudong side of the city will fare as an experiment in the Mainland government’s ongoing efforts to loosen centralized control. The international auction house Christie’s has wasted no time in finding out – they’ve jumped into the waters with both feet.
A couple of days ago, they offered a clustering of premium items for sale to the Mainland market – the first time that an international auction house has been able to independently do so. Still restricted from dealing in Chinese antiques, Christie’s brought a sampling of some of the West’s best known wares – Picasso’s, Warhol’s, Lafite, diamond and ruby necklaces etc – as well as some contemporary Chinese pieces.  The result was encouraging. Against pre-sale estimates of $15 million, the auction yielded $25 million in sales for the 43 lots. The water felt warm indeed.
Mind you, a $15 million event is light by Christie’s standards, so there was not much fear that the water was ever too deep. Still, it was a decisive plunging in, one that sends a clear indication of things to come. Presumably, the powers that be in Hong Kong have been paying close attention.

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